Friday, December 13, 2013

A Year of Loves: Beloved Books & Brown Booze of 2013


© Christine Cody 2013

Eight books I loved this year, in no particular order, paired with a brown liquor. 

1. Virginia Woolf, On Fiction
Hesperus Press Ltd.
I picked up this collection of four essays at Belgravia Books while at London Book Fair in April. Flawless. Of course.

Four Roses 2013 Small Batch: The most perfect bourbon out there. The pinnacle of elegance. A classic. Full stop. 

2. Kate Zambreno, Heroines
Semiotext(e)/Active Agents
Okay, okay. I actually read this at the end of 2012. You probably saw all of the Tweets. Literary history, literary criticism, personal narrative, feminist gorgeousness. Zambreno is a maverick.

Mischief Whiskey: Fiery. Complex. Nearly a rye.    

3. Deborah Levy, Black Vodka: Ten Stories
& Other Stories

I also read Levy's dark novel, Swimming Home, in 2013. Can't get enough. What Levy does with gender, with edges. 

St. George XXX Anniversary Malt: Muscular & sophisticated, both. 

4. Vandana Shiva, Manifestos on the Future of Food & Seed
South End Press 

Shiva left me breathless. Includes small, fine, warrior essays on food by Michael Pollan, Carlo Petrini, Jamey Lionette, & Prince Charles. 

Featherbone Bourbon Whiskey: The first bourbon from a certified organic distillery. 

5. Katherine Angel, Unmastered: A Book on Desire, Most Difficult to Tell
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
I had seen Tweets about the UK edition months before the American one was available. I never stood a chance. Angel quotes Sontag & Woolf throughout this deeply personal narrative on desire that is assembled from fragments & layered memories. I've read it twice.

How can I not recommend Angel's Envy? Kentucky straight bourbon finished in port. Smooth. Silky. Dangerous. 

6. Dodie Bellamy, Cunt Norton
Les Figues Press
Brilliant. Just go read it. 

Leopold Bros American Small Batch Whiskey: Stand back! Sip this one neat, unadulterated. The beauty lies in the craft of it.

7. Alyssa Harad, Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, & an Unlikely Bride
Penguin Books
Harad's memoir for me reconciled being a thinking woman with loving high femme tackle. Too, a trans man figures prominently in Harad's story. His scent journey through gender transition is tender, revelatory.  

Stranahan's American Whiskey:  Like Coming to My Senses, this brown liquor is not one thing only. Stranahan's is an all-malt Scotch that's barrel-aged like a bourbon, with base notes of driest tobacco & polished leather, a spicy cinnamon heart note, & head notes of tangerine & pink pepper. I love it.

8. Naomi Duguid, Burma: Rivers of Flavor
Artisan/Workman
You can read this cookbook for the recipes, many of which I have prepared & are delicious, but you can also read deeper. Duguid does important feminist (humanist, cultural) work here. Her commitment to making the 'other' less 'other' vibrates on the page. She really is one of the true bodhisattvas

Duguid lives in Toronto (just across Lake Ontario from my hometown of Rochester, NY) so a Canadian whisky is in order. Forty Creek, an indie whisky maker in Ontario, distills their spirits from vintage recipes using heritage Canadian grains. I have consistently been able to find the Barrel Select & Small Batch Reserve here in the States.

Which books & brown liquors have you loved this year?